Nigeria’s crude oil production has faced further decline following the shutting down of over 80,000 barrels per day in the West Swamp in Bayelsa and Delta States.
Community workers on Tuesday embarked on a strike over what they termed “poor remuneration by Shell Petroleum Development Company”.
The community workers also picketed the company’s facilities, leading to the shutdown of operations at Tunu Node, North Bank Node, Escravos, Otumara and other production facilities.
Community sources said the shutdown followed Shell’s failure to implement an agreement in the MOU signed with host communities.
The sources said community contract workers are paid between N25, 000 to N150, 000 while other companies pay the same community contract workers above N300,000. According to them, attempts to get Shell to migrate community contractors to the payment platform used for other contractors have failed.
Another community contractor described the salary by Shell as slave wages, saying some have worked for the company for 20 years but cannot afford decent living.
Due to the picketing and shutdown of operations, crew members numbering hundreds have been stranded while crew due for time off could not go home, and those due to go to work also could not go in due to restrictions of operations.
A stranded crew member who craved anonymity blamed the company for its inability to manage the issue effectively.
He said: “Shell has a habit of allowing problems and challenges to fester. They’re experts at allowing a preventable challenge to metamorphose into a massive crisis.
“The shutdown of operations will greatly impact the Economy and crude production output expected from Nigeria”.
Attempt to speak to Mr Mesh Maithibi, Shell’s Asset Manager, Western Operation to provide insights into the issue was unsuccessful as he could not be reached as at the time of filing this story.